ASCE Iowa Section Award Winner: Jen Bates

Jen Bates, Transportation Engineer in Des Moines, received the highest award given by the Iowa Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The Iowa Section Award recognizes Jen’s outstanding contributions to her civil engineering profession, public welfare and/or mankind. 

It is only awarded once every three years. Notably, Jen is the first female to win this award. The last Shive-Hattery employee who was given this recognition was Don Hattery in 1991 who is the Hattery of Shive-Hattery. An amazing milestone and well-deserved award, Jen!

Kari Sebern, former President of the Iowa Section of ASCE, nominated Jen. The award was announced at the ASCE Iowa Section annual meeting in early September 2021.

“Kari called me the night before the meeting to let me know I’d won because she knew my reaction would involve both laughter and tears,” said Jen. “She didn’t want to miss that since she couldn’t attend the meeting.”

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Here’s what Kari had to say about our colleague, Jen:  

Has the nominee been a member of ASCE as Member grade, and a member in good standing of Iowa Section ASCE for at least 10 years? Additionally, has the nominee served in the Iowa Section as chairperson or member of a Technical Committee, member of the Board of Directors, or served in National ASCE? Describe the nominee’s service to ASCE.

Jen has been involved with ASCE for over 17 years. She has served in many roles on the Board of Direction, including President of the Iowa Section in 2009. Jen has been involved at the Region level as well, currently serving as Iowa Section's Region 7 Assembly Delegate. Additionally, Jen is also heading up the Iowa Centennial Committee and has spent countless hours researching the history of ASCE and civil engineering within the State of Iowa. Jen has also been involved with trying to establish the Lincoln Highway as a historic landmark.  Jen has served on ASCE committees at a national level as well.

Describe how the nominee has demonstrated unquestionable professional integrity. 

The Iowa Section of ASCE has relied on Jen's expertise and historical knowledge for well over 15 years. I would guess she has been at more board meetings than any other individual over the last 15 years. I personally relied on Jen's knowledge while I served as President. She was always available to give constructive feedback and help me through best practices. It is very evident that Jen holds the Iowa Section of ASCE in the highest regard and expects and helps foster greatness in her colleagues within the Section. Jen truly is an industry leader and a leader within ASCE and the Iowa Section

Describe how the nominee’s professional reputation extends beyond the nominee’s local geographic area.

Jen is involved with ASCE at a Regional Level as our Assembly Delegate and also at a national level, with several trips taken to Washington, DC to advocate for infrastructure. She has also served on National committees.  We are lucky, as a Section, to have her representing us at regional and national levels.

Describe the contributions the nominee has made to his or her profession, the public welfare, and/or mankind and why those contributions may be considered exceptional.

Civil Engineering is where Jen combines her love for math, science and the great outdoors. As a Senior Transportation Engineer/Project Manager, Jen develops solutions for her clients so their projects work in harmony with the surrounding natural space. She sees the outdoor space through the eyes of an engineer but also as an end user to the spaces she helps create. Particularly, when it comes to trails, Jen is a trail planner and an avid user. After a few minutes talking with Jen, it is easy to see that she is both passionate about trail design and bike riding. She has found a unique way to merge her passions into her career.

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Describe how the nominee has consistently promoted the social and professional interest of the Engineer:

Jen volunteers regularly at local schools and events. She is constantly promoting the field of civil engineering and it is easy to see that she holds the Profession in the highest regard and is a voice for civil engineering interests.

Provide any other information regarding the nominee to be considered for this award.

Jen would never expect this award nor ever even consider herself a contender. I know she is currently working on submitting someone else for this award. Because that's just how she is, always wanting to promote and lift others up. I feel makes her an even stronger fit for the Iowa Section Award. She humbly, yet strongly works for the advancement of the profession; never expecting or wanting praise for the great work that she is doing. The Iowa Section of ASCE is truly a better chapter because of Jen Bates and all of her hard work over the last 17 years. Don't let her great laugh and love of fun fool you; she is laser-focused, serious and passionate about ASCE and Civil Engineering. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.

Thank you for all that you do for the profession and the communities you serve, Jen!